Turkey’s parliament has approved a motion to extend for another year the state’s authority to launch cross-border operations in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
The motion, which was ratified on Wednesday, allows military operations in Turkey’s two southern neighbors against what it calls the Daesh Takfiri terrorist outfit and other groups Ankara deems to be terror organizations, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
The Turkish military deployment mandate was first approved by parliament in October 2014, and has been renewed each year since then.
The motion said it was “essential for Turkey’s national security to take all necessary measures ... in the face of any threats.”
It added that “the existence of [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party militant group] PKK and Daesh in Iraq, poses a direct threat to regional peace, stability and the security of our country.”
Ismet Yilmaz, head of parliament’s defense committee, said there would be no reprieve in Turkey’s “fight against terror.”
“We will not allow terror groups to shelter or be trained in our country’s southern borders, or stage attacks against our country utilizing the instable political situation in Iraq and Syria,” Yilmaz was quoted as saying by Anadolu.
PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
A Turkish military truck carries a tank as it is dispatched to the border in Hatay, near the Turkey-Syria border, on January 31, 2018. (By AFP)
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border.
Ankara claimed that its military campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish militants there.
It is now in control of Syria’s Afrin region after driving out the US-backed Kurdish forces there.
Syria has called Turkey’s military intervention as an act of aggression, calling on Ankara to pull its forces out.
Iraq has also repeatedly complained of Turkey’s violations of its border and airspace.